In early October of 2015, the Casa Ciclista in Guadalajara hosted Bike!Bike!, the annual convergence of bicycle co-ops from around the world. My local bicycle co-op, The Bikerowave, graciously financed a flight to Mexico to represent Los Angeles; and, of course, to present a Sustainable Cycles workshop during the conference. Since Mexico celebrates Día de los Muertos at the beginning of November, I decided to stay for the month and hang out with my new bicycle friends.
I would say that the folks at the Casa Ciclista community bicycle workshop were unbelievably gracious in their hospitality but at this point, I have experienced such kindness from strangers that I believe it easily. There were around 200 people who traveled to the event; each one of us was provided housing through the expansive bicycle community network in town. Our bike co-op hosts volunteered their time to cook us two meals a day and put together an extensive conference program. We overtook an old warehouse, a local bike shop, and the community bicycle workshop space to participate in programs ranging from how to finance a non-profit bike shop to how to welcome non-binary gender and queer sexuality into a bicycle space. Our hosts planned social events as well. One night, they projected “Bikes vs Cars” onto a big screen, and we watched how people in numerous cities around the world are using the bicycle as an agent for positive change. We went on a night time group ride with at least 400 riders reclaiming the streets of Guadalajara. Believe me when I tell you, the cycling movement is global and growing.
Cicla tu ciclo was very popular. After I left Guadalajara for Mexico City, I collaborated with some local feminists to organize some more. One of these events was held at an old radical printing shop called the “Casa de El hijo del Ahuizote” in the historic center of downtown Mexico City. Amongst a strong history of corruption in Mexico lies an inspiring counter-movement of activism and human rights advocacy; the structures of yesterday’s movements continue to support today’s. At the downtown venue, I was assisted by a number of new friends in running the cycling workshop. As little as we talk about menstruation in the US, it is spoken of even less in Mexico. The dedicated space for flow conversation was well-received and appreciated by a non-exclusively female audience.
During the Guadalajara conference, I met a friend who made my stay in Mexico City two thousand times more enjoyable than it would have been by lending me one of her bicycles for the whole month I was there. Biking around Mexico City during the sunlit hours of the day is not something I encourage you to add to your bucket list; traffic is bad and fumes are noxious, but late at night, the roads quiet and the riding becomes much more enjoyable. I am happy to report that the Mexico City bike scene is alive, well, and fast! Thank you to the Casa Biciteka for welcoming me into their strong community of fierce cyclists. I return from Mexico knowing that when I ride the streets of Los Angeles, I do so in solidarity with cyclists who share a vision of independent mobility, healthier bodies, and a healthier earth.
Cyclists from around the world converge at La Casa Ciclista in Guadalajara. The cooperative bicycle movement is strong!